Kings Day. Best Day.

Events, Study Abroad, Travel

Kings Day is by far one of the best days to be in The Netherlands!


Kings Day (Breda, April 2016)

I was lucky and one of my very best friends surprised me with a gift for my first of hopefully many Kings Days to come. In the gift was assorted silly clothing to wear, all orange of course, orange tinted sunglasses, a crown, balloons, chalk, and tasty Dutch treats. For breakfast, we had a puff pasty filled with slaagroom called tompauce. These are decorated with orange icing especially for this holiday. Fun fact, there is a 600% increase in sales of tompauce on this holiday compared to any other day. I shared much of my candy and sweets with my room mates as well, and we decorated our flat with orange balloons.

The holiday is a celebration for the Kings Birthday, and all throughout the country there are city wide parties with a sea of people dressed in orange. As I mentioned before, I went to the 538 KoningsDag festival which amazing beyond my expectations. But in the city centre there were multiple free stages that people could enjoy and the terraces of many restaurants were open.


Sunset Over Eva Simon’s Set (Breda, April 2016)

The weather was not the best, with some rain, some hail, and some cold wind. But that didn’t stop anyone from having an amazing time! I had so much fun spending time with my friends and dancing the entire day away. Artists like Martin Garrix, Tiesto, and Hardwell perform all over the country with multiple shows. Martin Garrix performed around one o’clock, and unfortunately we missed him as we were waiting in line. After his set, he was off into his helicopter for another set in Amsterdam. Unreal!

I was the most excited to see Armin Van Burren during this festival as I had not seen him before. His music was great, and he played one of my favourite songs by Alan Walker called Faded. The ultimate highlight was seeing Tiesto and Hardwell (both Breda born Djs) perform at the same time during a rainstorm. Easily 20,000 people dressed in orange were moshing and thrashing to heavy beats, and cheering in the rain. Seriously, that’s a moment to remember! I am so grateful to be living in a country where there is such a prominent festival and electronic dance music culture. This REALLY is my kind of place!

There truly is no party like a Kings Day party!


A Week In Review (October 11th to 18th)

Study Abroad, Travel

With crunch time of school related deadlines and trying to keep up an active social life, I am having a hard time trying to update my blog often; however, I thought I would update on how my past week was.

On Monday, I began my first seminar class. The structure of this week long class was quite loose, and one could say it was an equivalent of a ‘crash course’ in a topic. This week’s class was called Host Guest Relations; where in a few short lectures, we analyzed how tourists interact with the destinations that they visit. We looked at a variety of topics, such as the tourist gaze (how the visitor interprets a destination’s images and his experiences), as well as the tourist bubble (how tourists interact with each other and reaching out of a programmed experience to really grasp a concept of the host community). Overall, this topic was quite interesting, but I found there was a lot of research to be done.

My partner and I wrote a report about how local stakeholders (such as the local destination marketing organization, residents, and tourism businesses) contribute to realizing the tourist gaze for international visitors. Throughout this research, I learned that many tourists visiting Amsterdam are actually domestic visitors from around the Netherlands. It was also quite fascinating to learn about that the image that guests have of this city is mostly of canals, architecture, the sex industry, and consuming marijuana. As I have only spent a short amount of time here, I can agree that these images are a part of the city, but there is also so much more to absorb, including typical Dutch foods, incredible museums, street art, markets, events, festivals, and green spaces.

On Thursday night, as part of the Amsterdam Dance Event, my roommate Grace and I traveled into the city to see Martin Garrix perform live at the Heineken Music Hall. For those who may be unfamiliar, Martin Garrix is a famous DJ, who is known worldwide for being one of the youngest mainstream DJs in the world. This show was nothing short of amazing, and included excellent production throughout the entire performance. It was also exciting as other famous DJs, such as Tiesto, Afrojack, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike also made special performances. The show was sold out and the venue’s capacity was 5,500 people – needless to say it was an exciting adventure! We didn’t end up arriving home until 7:30am the next morning due to traffic on the public transit system.

In comparison to a concert venue in Canada, the Heineken Music Hall differed in several ways. For example, there was no seating, although there was two levels with a main floor and a balcony on all three sides facing towards the stage. There was also a lifted VIP section at the back that probably had the best view of the stage. There was also several areas where people could relax, many bars to purchase drinks and refreshments, and an excellent sound system throughout the entire building. If someone wasn’t in the concert hall, the music still sounded as though one was standing next to the stage.

The Amsterdam Dance Event took place all over Amsterdam for the past week and included performances from 2,200 artists and 450 events in clubs all over the capital city. During the day, there were many tours, special events, and a conference focused around electronic dance music to attend.

Here is a video of Martin Garrix performing at the same festival last year!

Other than that, I can only report that I had another week of amazing meals with my friends. On Friday night, we feasted on a delicious Bulgarian dinner cooked by Yana, Victoria, Dan, and Mark. One evening Ishay came over and cooked traditional Islamic cuisine as well. And though autumn is slowly disappearing in Breda, Cosmin and I went out for lunch and chose to sit on the terrace (with many layers on) to embrace the last bit of great weather.

Sunday brought great company as I traveled to the nearby city of Eindhoven to enjoy a traditional Canadian Thanksgiving meal with my friend Vicki, and her husband, Leon. It was such a treat to enjoy turkey, mashed potatoes, and other home cooked delicacies that my friends and family enjoyed last week. We also had some traditional Dutch food, such as spicy pears.

The last bit of exciting news for me is that a package arrived from Canada and I can now also enjoy my favourite .99 cent meal, the President’s Choice version of white cheddar macaroni and cheese! Hooray!